Monday, October 12, 2009
The Lost Weekend, Part II: Coddled on My Birthday
My oh my, but it has been a busy week! Once again, with my tale of the latest Fairlington Exchange treasures , I led you Dear Readers down a path of search and discovery. I kept you hanging for days on end with promises of yet even more flea market finds from the October 3rd Arlington Civitan Flea . I’d say it’s about time I made good on my promise!
At the close of my last account, Sharona had arrived at my home bright an early – 6:50 AM! Coffee in hand, we proceeded to the spot in Arlington we had discovered only last month – the Arlington Civitan Flea Market, between the neighborhoods of Ballston and Clarendon. Once again, we arrived in sufficient time to grab a great parking space. Although the weather looked a bit foreboding, the parking area was quickly reaching capacity, and bleary-eyed shoppers were streaming into the parking structure that housed all the vendors.
Our very fist stop was to visit ‘Sam’ whom I had mentioned in last month’s Civitan episode. Having purchased the pair of 1960’s gilded Florentine sconces from Sam in September, I was anxious to see her available wares for this month. Although I was once again tempted by the set of vintage Noritake handle-soup cups with saucers, I was a bit disappointed that there were seven, and not eight, pair in the set. This being the most attractive of her offerings, Sharona and I decided to continue meandering through the impromptu shops to see all there was to be seen while I pondered the purchase.
While there appeared to be nearly as many vendors represented in the parking garage/flea mall as last month, Sharona and I both expressed that the quality of goods offered seemed a bit less than our previous experience. Nonetheless, as we strolled through, there were some pieces that called to us: a refurbished steamer trunk (also seen last month); a large (10’x14’) wool Persian rug of excellent quality, condition, and price; and, handcrafted mobiles/windchimes of found objects. The last of these were particularly fascinating; made of such items as broken bottles, rusty horseshoes, and pieces of vintage porcelain faucets, the mobiles were incredibly unique and mesmerizing. I wish I had remembered to get the artisans contact info; alas, I must hope that he participates in next month’s event – the last for the 2009 season.
Eventually, we came upon a vendor whose table of various china pieces caused a fit of glee…. There, among the odd pieces of tableware and miscellany, sat FOUR king-sized (i.e. double) egg coddlers ! One was even in its original Royal Worcester box! Dear reader, you may recall from an earlier post that I collect these darling crucibles of English porcelain, and coddlers are always on my radar when traipsing through any flea market or vintage store. But in all my years, I have not come across FOUR double coddlers, all in pristine condition! As if this discovery were not sufficiently sweet, the negotiated sales price was beyond reasonable. Finally, I had found treasures at the day’s Flea that made the early wake-up time worthwhile!
Coddlers in hand, Sharona and I continued our quest. By now, however, we were being particularly discriminating and judicious with the time spent in each vendor’s area. You see, it was also my birthday (my Forever Age is, BTW, 27), and Sharona had promised me a breakfast of French toast/eggs/bacon at our fave Alexandria haunt, Atlantis . Only such culinary delights could tear me away prematurely from a flea market (after all, even addicts have to eat).
As we commandeered ourselves through the vendors’ tables and the meandering shoppers, we remembered to stop back by to see the Made in England matron. Fortunately, several of the pieces I had admired earlier were still there, waiting to be claimed and incorporated into my own hodgepodge collection. Intent on purchasing only one item (or, in this case one group of items), I chose a set of four bone china dessert plates (all Made in England, of course!). Three of the plates are by Royal Grafton , and one by Regency . From my Internet research, I discovered that all four were most likely made in the 1950s. Although they are of two different manufacturers, the designs and shapes are remarkably similar, and they easily serve as a complete set.
As I was completing my sale, my attention was grabbed by another little piece I had seen during my earlier encounter with this vendor. There, sitting among the more dainty floral china items, was a little pitcher of insanely green color and gold trim. What was most intriguing about this vessel – aside from its vibrant coloring -- was it shape: rather squatty, with a squared wavy handle. Quite honestly, I found it completey delightful! (The pitcher is marked “Carlton Ware, Made in England”, and is stamped “1347/3”. My research -- was there really life BI, Before Internet??-- indicates that this piece was made in the 1920s. Indeed, the design is tres’ Art Deco.) Purchasing this item was most definitely a win-win, since the seller seemed as pleased to have made the sale as the buyer was in making the find! Sharona also found a delightful set of china saucers (and, believe it or not, they were MADE IN ENGLAND!), so we parted ways with a very happy vendor. (Actually, it was a bit difficult to tell if she was happy or not, being English and thus rather reserved, but we decided to project.)
By this time, the siren call of Atlantis’ French toast overwhelmed the waning promise of more vintage Flea finds. Having decided to forego yet again the Noritake soup set Sam was offering, Sharona and I made our way to her convertible and, content with the few yet fabulous Flea items in our possession, proceeded to my birthday breakfast bonanza. It was a morning of satisfaction on many levels! Ah, 27 is such a lovely age!